Submitted by Nathan Peters
South Puget Sound Community College offers a variety of programs that provide its students with a hands-on approach to learning. The theater program gives students experience in acting and directing to begin their education for a four-year university or for personal interests.
The acting classes provide students with opportunities to be critiqued on their abilities as actors. This program is built around the students and the best way for them to succeed.
Veronika Wooten, a drama student, wanted to try something different, something that would make her step out of her comfort zone.
It also allowed Robert Hubbard, a drama student, to “be more outgoing and work on stage.” The theater program gives many opportunities for personal growth.
Don Welch, the college’s only drama professor, was quick to remark about the price of four year universities and their theater programs compared to SPSCC’s prices. Welch described it as “a lot cheaper than going to a four year college, where you are going to get the same classes that you would normally get at a university.”
Welch wants to continue trying to adhere to cheaper means of education, using inexpensive textbooks for example. When asked, all of his students said that he was one of the main reasons for their love of this theater program.
Having a previous acting career enables Welch to understand learning from the student’s perspective. He chose to teach at the college because he has always wanted to teach and direct.
“I love working with young people and watching them grow. And all of a sudden seeing the light come on and them say, ‘Oh wow, this is what I want to do.’”
But being the only drama professor for the program, Welch said his job is tough. Despite his struggle the theater program is growing. His advanced students assist him by helping direct and advise the program’s newer students, giving him more availability for one-on-one advice.
“Ordinary People” is the theater program’s fall quarter production. The drama is about a senior in high school, Conrad Jerritt, who goes through a family tragedy. With the loss of his brother, Conrad is forced to live with his guilt and his mother’s blame. The family is in turmoil when everything is suddenly torn apart.
Drama student John Murphy described it as not being “necessarily a happy play, but a good representation of ordinary people going through some extraordinary problems.”
“It’s one of those plays that I think is important to see, especially when you’re young. It’s the types of emotional things that happen in life that impact you and how you handle them. Plus, it’s a very good play,” Welch said.
“Ordinary People” shows Nov. 8 to Nov. 11 and from Nov. 15 to Nov. 18 in the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts.
The college’s winter quarter production is “Hamlet.” Auditions are held to all people in the community, including students.
Professor Welch encourages students to take the SPSCC acting class Rehearsals and Performance, “where you are basically doing the play” while earning five credits.
All of the current theater students in the drama program advise students to give the drama program a try if you have even the remotest interest.
With Welch instructing and a cast family supporting, the theater program at SPSCC provides a great option for starting your education and career in acting.